The sixth segment of the course tour takes us from the Robinson Flat aid station at Mile 29.7 to Miller's Defeat at Mile 35.3. A special thanks to Lauren Garvey and Matt Garvey, Beth's cousins, my in-laws John and Sigrid Sheehan, Mark and Liddy Strus (in honor of Ayden Crumpley), Caroline Hoenk, and Kevin and Michelle Brandl, whose donations to the Wounded Warrior Project sponsor this stage. I also wanted to thank my mom, who donated in honor of a patient of hers, Tom Regnier, who recently died. Tom's two sons are in the military, and his wife Cynthia is a Blue Star Mother with my mom.
Keep in mind that I've never run these miles, but from what I've been able to determine, the trail along this stretch is fairly new single track path that is mostly downhill with a few switchbacks. The Robinson Flat aid station is the second highest aid station, at just over 6700 feet, but the course rises up from there. It peaks at over 7,000 feet after a short ascent up to Little Bald Mountain, but descends slowly over the next three miles to a low around 6,000 feet.
Given the relatively tame terrain, this stretch will be very runnable and also a good chance for calorie intake. Having just seen my crew, it will probably be a good idea to take a homemade sandwich or two with me for the descent into Miller's Defeat.
Yes, those are horses! This is, after all, a horse trail, and this race, of course, got its start after a horse race competitor's horse went lame, leading its rider to run the distance to Auburn. The rulebook notes that "horses may be spooked by the sudden appearance of a runner, with serious consequences to the rider. Stop and step off the trail to let oncoming horses pass. Runners should never pass a horse form behind without first notifying the rider."
The Miller's Defeat aid station at Mile 35.3 will see the leaders pass through at 10:15 a.m. The 24 hour runners will be by at 12:25 p.m., and the 30 hour runners will arrive at 2:30 p.m. The aid station will close at 3:10 p.m. Runners will have 64.7 miles to go!